2020 BIU Report - our project highlights and emerging opportunities

2 July 2020

The 2020 Behavioural Insights Unit Report showcases our major projects over the last two years and shares some of the emerging opportunities in behavioural science that we are excited to explore.

BIU Report 2020

Now more than ever, behaviour change has become central to public policy. From the bushfires and floods earlier in 2020, to the ongoing response to COVID-19, the need for large-scale behaviour change has never been more front of mind.

The NSW Behavioural Insight Unit (BIU) aims to see behavioural insights applied in everyday policy and service design to deliver better outcomes for the people of NSW.  To achieve this, we focus on three areas: running trials, building capability across the sector and providing advice on behavioural insights.

Today, we are delighted to launch our latest results report. The report showcases our major projects over the last two years and shares some of the emerging opportunities in behavioural science that we are excited to explore.

Some of our key accomplishments include:

Women in senior leadership trial: Our combined email and phone call intervention reduced the gender gap between men and women reapplying for senior roles from 45% to just 4%.

Flexible working trial: Managers who received our intervention email were three times more likely to engage with their team about flexible working.

Reducing missed hospital appointments: Our behaviourally informed reminders led to a 33.7% reduction in no-shows for outpatient clinics at two hospitals in the Central Coast Local Health District.

Drought assistance: We worked with Department of Primary Industries to make it easier for farmers to access drought assistance.

Land tax: Our work with Revenue NSW led to 39% more customers confirming or updating their land tax details.

COVID-19: We are working across the NSW Government to apply behavioural insights to help support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Capability building: Over the last 12 months, we have trained 1,500 public servants in how behavioural insights could apply to their work.

We are proud of our work to date and excited by the opportunity to explore new frontiers for behavioural science in public policy.  As well as our current work program, the BIU is actively shaping the future of the behavioural insights field, with some of the most exciting new trends including:

Combining data science and behavioural insights:  the BIU now works closely alongside the NSW Data Analytics Centre and we are excited to explore how advances in data analytics may lead to the next generation of nudges.

Reducing “sludge” in Government: there is a shift across Government to put the customer at the center of what we do.  The BIU is developing an innovative “Sludge” project to identify and quantify the cost of “sludge” to customers and Government, and develop behaviourally informed solutions to reduce it.

Cross-jurisdictional collaboration: the opportunity for cross-jurisdictional collaboration has come to the fore as BI teams nationally have been considering complex challenges, such as the response to bushfires and COVID-19.  This ongoing collaboration enables us to share and replicate ideas to build a strong evidence base in an Australian policy context.

To read more about our current or emerging work, read more in our report.